Lawn type change - Creating a back yard putting green


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Hi all,

I'm based in UK, but hopefully this is more of a general question regardless of which country I'm in.

I want to take my existing back lawn and turn it into a golf course quality putting green! I've done my research on type of grass seed (90% fescue, 10% bentgrass) and have stocked up on sand and topsoil. However, my question is how best to deal with the existing grass as this is standard lawn grass with plenty of weeds.

I was planning on...
1) Putting down some strong weed killer all over the lawn and weeds to knock everything back.
2) Once everything is dead, spread the sand/topsoil mix over the top level and roll.
3) Apply the seed and rake in.
3) Apply a light covering of topsoil and roll.

Does that sound the right way to go about things or is there a chance the old lawn could start creeping through in time?

Should I rotavate the soil between steps 1 and 2?

Has anyone done a similar project to completely change the grass type on an existing lawn who could share some advice?
 
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I haven't done the exact same thing but I have changed pasture land that was nothing but weeds into a lush lawn. This particular project was part of a custom home building endeavour and the owner wanted it done fast and didn't care how it was done. I'll try to explain step by step what I did. First, before the concrete slab was built I sprayed the entire property with Roundup and then a week later I sprayed with a product with the active ingredient triclopyr. After everything had turned brown I did a shallow tilling, 2 or 3 inches deep to bring up any seeds. Then after the plumber and the concrete guys finished with the slab I covered everything with black plastic except near the slab and where the driveway was going to be. When the house was nearing total completion I put in a sprinkler system. Then I raked and leveled everything and applied 1-2 inches of good compost making sure it was level also. I then seeded with a hybrid bermuda seed which the owner picked out. I applied about twice as much seed as was called for. After the seed sprouted I applied a good organic pelleted fertilizer. Three weeks later there was a beautiful lawn. A week later the owner moved in. Now for your project. With step one make sure your herbicide actually is designed to kill everything. Just using glysophate alone probably will not be sufficient for grasses but it works well on broadleaf weeds. To make sure everything is dead and cannot come back I would rotovate, wait a period of time, and if any green starts to show spray again. After you are completely sure everything is dead, level to your specification and add compost, NOT TOPSOIL. Unless the topsoil has been sterilized it will have unwanted seeds in it. Then after you apply the compost roll it LIGHTLY, NOT ENOUGH TO COMPACT. Just enough to take out any humps or ridges and then sow your seeds. Then lightly roll again making sure the seeds make good soil contact. Covering the seeds will reduce germination rates. Keep moist, not wet until germination
 
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Chuck, thanks very much for all the info, really appreciate it. I will get an additional weed killer as I've only got glysophate concentrate at the moment. Frustrating that it's too cold here to apply any so it's a waiting game for a few weeks!
 
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Chuck, thanks very much for all the info, really appreciate it. I will get an additional weed killer as I've only got glysophate concentrate at the moment. Frustrating that it's too cold here to apply any so it's a waiting game for a few weeks!
And speaking of warm weather don't sow the seeds until it gets WARM.
 
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As a long time golfer, I admire your plan. I think golf greens need similar preparation to that of cricket greens, in that although not rolled to the compactness of a cricket strip, you will need a roller to give it a firm base. To make it true and to give you some advantage when you play on a course, you'll need a decent mower. I think the ones my club uses, when hand rolling greens in the summer are nearly £3000.
Then during the year there's the usual treatments and hollow tining.
 
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Hi Sean,

Yes, the mower is a slight cost concern! The area I'm working on isn't huge, about 50sqm, and I've got a cylinder mower that *might* cut low enough but I'll keep an eye out for a second hand one.

I'll post some progress pics when the time comes to start the job, I still think I've got another month of waiting to do before I can start.
 
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Have a look at second-hand Ransomes mowers. I had one forty-odd years ago, it had more blades than a conventional mower.
If you have squirrels, don't feed them peanuts, they'll leave "pitch marks" in your green when they try to bury nuts.

My lawn wouldn't be suitable for putting. I do use it to practice a bit of chipping with a lob wedge over that sambucus, but only off a bit of carpet, it's hard to keep it like this as it is.

P1020696.JPG
 
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Nice suggestion, looks like a used Ransomes can be picked up for ~£300 which seems a good investment!

Lovely garden, far too nice to be hacked around for golf! Can I ask what variety the flowers are below your sambucus? They look very 'Augusta National' and would be perfect for my project.
 
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Nice suggestion, looks like a used Ransomes can be picked up for ~£300 which seems a good investment!

Lovely garden, far too nice to be hacked around for golf! Can I ask what variety the flowers are below your sambucus? They look very 'Augusta National' and would be perfect for my project.


Thanks for the kind words, they are azaleas, not as many as there are at Augusta, but we do our best. We have a lot of them and rhododendroms (no work involved looking after them),

Here's a tour. The garden is deceptive, it's only about 90ft by 30ft.



We bought these three small azaleas about three years ago, to hide the tub. Unfortunately, the garden centre didn't have three the same, so the one at the back, annoyingly flowers later than the other two.

We have some azaleas in our tiny front garden too. The main one I've layered several times. It started life in a 4" pot in the "reduced to clear" bin on a stall in Altrincham Market. My wife bought it and the stem split when she took it home on the bus. We put some Sellotape round it and the rest is history. Two layered pieces are in the back garden.
The one nearest the road I prune with garden shears every year.

P1020673.JPG




P1020674.JPG


There was a big change in the garden last year. For over thirty years we had a 5ft deep 3000 gallon koi pool. But it developed a leak and fitting a new liner woyuld have ment removing all the perimeter rocks, the "bridge" over the filter return and half the waterfall. So I had it filled with 20 tons of eco friendly hardcore and paved over. It's the only work or constructions in the garden, I haven't done myself.
Some of the fish were 2ft in length, but they went to a good home, a friend with a koi pool two doors down our road.

 
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:love: Absolutely glorious!

How funny, when I moved into the house 4 years ago, I inherited a 4mx3m Koi pond, fully lined with breeze blocks and 4 courses of house bricks above ground too! Understandably, the previous owner took his Koi with him so I did the same as you and levelled the area which is now just boring grass.

I've only just started playing with growing my own annuals from seed this year, but your pictures have inspired me to look for some nice azaleas to add to my front and rear borders which can look a bit barren at times
 
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:love: Absolutely glorious!

How funny, when I moved into the house 4 years ago, I inherited a 4mx3m Koi pond, fully lined with breeze blocks and 4 courses of house bricks above ground too! Understandably, the previous owner took his Koi with him so I did the same as you and levelled the area which is now just boring grass.

I've only just started playing with growing my own annuals from seed this year, but your pictures have inspired me to look for some nice azaleas to add to my front and rear borders which can look a bit barren at times

Thanks for your kind words.

We've never been into bedding plants or hanging baskets. We only have perennials. We've spent thousands over the years on our garden, buying plants and growing them on. But we aren't averse to ringing the changes, if something doesn't perform having been given reasonable care, it gets given away or goes into the bin.

Some plants we just move around.

Fourteen years ago we had three camellias in a central bed, that just got too big. They dominated the garden and created a lot of mess.

P5220045.JPG




So we dumped two, cut the third back down to a couple of feet and replanted it. It's been next to this lantern since then and gets pruned each year.
Its former home has been "redeveloped."

P1000673.JPG



So "gardening" is just a bit of pruning, weeding, leaf collection and lawn mowing. The latter is extremely quick as there's no "edging," my Flymo just glides over the edging bricks I laid. This takes long enough. I've several other hobbies.

This is this is the best part of gardening for me. A place to relax with a few cold beers

Fridge with Budweiser.JPG



and listen to some music.

 
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